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UFO Sighting

Sighting Basics

Case Number 55633
Log Number US-04212014-0002
Date Submitted 04/21/2014 12:47 UTC
Date of the Event 04/20/2014 07:29 UTC
Source MUFON
Disposition Unresolved
Summary Photos of spiraling double smoke trail w/ possible sonic boom heard. . .
Tags photo

Sighting Location

City Spearfish
Region South Dakota
Country United States

Sighting Specifics

Viewing Distance Over One Mile
Sighting Duration 00:20:00
Object Features Unknown
Object Flight Path Straight-line path,Other
Object Shape N, A
Weather Factors Unknown

Sighting Details

My wife and I went to dinner in the neighboring town of Spearfish, SD. As we were leaving the restaurant and getting into our truck, my wife said "What was that?". I asked her what she meant and she asked "Didn't you hear that?", which I hadn't, I had already shut my door. I asked her what it sounded like and she described it as a boom-boom sound. I didn't think much of it and we decided to drive home to Lead via US HWY 14A, which is a scenic route through Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills. It was approximately 7:20pm and the skies were crystal-clear. Spearfish Canyon is very winding and has high canyon walls on either side making for a limited field of view most of the time, but as we rounded a corner, I looked up and saw this bizarre smoke trail in the sky to the west. I drove on a little ways looking for a better view and a place to pull off of the road. The photos I took with my cell-phone camera are better than I expected considering it was the first time I ever used it. The two trail were visually close enough and on the same trajectory to be obviously related. The upper, or larger of the two was very broad and straight, being slightly denser on the upper and lower edges as though it may have been cylindrical as opposed to appearing flat. The second, or lower trail was very bright and sharp in appearance and was very obviously created by a spiraling object. I am fairly certain that what I saw was the smoke trail of something burning up and breaking up on re-entry. Unfortunately I did not see the actual object that created this smoke trail. But in my best estimation I would say that, based on the time it took to completely disperse (about 20 minutes), I missed it by about 5 - 10 minutes. This would correspond to the time my wife heard the booms. It appeared to me that whatever left the lower trail was burning, spiraling, and possibly breaking apart because there were intermittent bright spots, not evenly spaced along the trail, that looked like places that trailed small fragments as there were smaller streaks of smoke around these bright spots. I'm not sure if the photos are good enough to show that much detail, though. I'm not asserting that this was anything extraterrestrial, but it was very unusual. I've seen a lot of con-trails and have even seen the "chain-of-pearls" type of con-trail here and what I saw today did not resemble a con-trail. I was fortunate enough to have witnessed the re-entry of SkyLab when I was a boy, and this looked very similar to the smoke trails it left. The smoke trails I saw today appeared to be at a lower altitude than that, though. I'm no trained spotter, but I am an Army veteran and former law enforcement officer. Though it's very difficult, if not impossible to judge the altitude and range of the smoke trail, I would take a wild guess at between 20K and 50K feet and maybe 5 to 25 miles distant. Hard to tell not knowing what it was. Anyway, just wanted to pass this along to you guys. I think it's worth looking into, especially if you've received any other related reports. I'd bet my paycheck on my opinion that it was an object breaking up in the atmosphere. Maybe space-junk, maybe a large meteor, but definitely not a con-trail. Feel free to call me if you have any questions, and please let me know if you figure out what this was. Thank You.

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